From the founding of the National Psoriasis Foundation to the organization you see today, women have led the way. In June, hundreds will gather in Chicago, IL to honor April Armstrong, M.D., MPH, Dafna Gladman, M.D., and Nicole Ward, Ph.D. for their contributions to the psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis community at the 2022 Commit to Cure Gala: Celebrating Women Who Lead.
We sat down with dermatologist Dr. Armstrong to learn more about her journey and the women who inspire her.
Why did you go into dermatology?
I went into dermatology because skin diseases are visible and can deeply affect people not only physically but also emotionally. I wanted to make a difference in these patients’ lives so that they could be seen for who they truly are. I also enjoy taking care of an entire age spectrum of patients from birth to senior years.
What moment from your career are you most proud of?
Being named Chair of the Medical Board of the National Psoriasis Foundation was a monumental moment for me. Following the footsteps of visionary leaders such as Dr. Mark Lebwohl and Dr. Abby Van Voorhees, and leading efforts to educate and advocate have been incredibly meaningful in my professional career.
When/Why did you get involved with the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF)?
I got involved with the NPF shortly after finishing my residency. I had heard many great things about NPF from my mentors and colleagues. I began by doing educational programs on psoriasis for NPF locally and also got involved with other NPF activities such as the Team NPF walks and participating in Capitol Hill Day to advocate for funding for psoriasis research. I found these experiences to be highly rewarding on many levels.
I admire that NPF is a place of connection of purpose for many — patients, clinicians, researchers, and other partners who all work together to improve the lives of those impacted by psoriatic disease. I feel even more excited about my day-to-day care of psoriasis patients because I know that I belong to something bigger.
What do you want people with psoriatic disease to know?
NPF provides patients with helpful resources on how to access medications, where to find great clinicians, and timely educational materials on topics that matter to those living with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
What do you see as the future of psoriatic disease?
The next phase of work for the psoriatic disease community is about individualizing treatments, continuing to increase access to treatments, and to prevent comorbidities. Many psoriasis researchers are working constantly every day to improve the lives of those affected by psoriatic disease.
What woman in your life inspires you?
Even though my grandmother passed away in 2021, her memory continues to inspire me. As a youngster, my grandma survived the bombing of her home during the war. She then poured all her energy into building her family. When I was a child growing up in Shanghai, she made sure that I was well fed, clothed, and loved. As a child, I used to hold her frostbitten fingers in the winter trying to warm them after she overused them by hand-washing laundry in icy cold water. My grandmother inspires me because she taught me the meaning of a good work ethic and putting people above all else.
[Answers have been lightly edited for clarity and style.]